Your guide to understanding the basics of Adobe After Effects and more

Immerse yourself in Adobe After Effects with these helpful tutorials.

Have you always wanted to learn? After Effects but never sure where to start? In the following article we are going to walk you through the incredible 10 part video series “Learn from the Pros”. It has two heavyweights After Effects Community, Evan Abrams and Sergei Prokhnevskiy.

The first video gives a comprehensive overview of what Adobe After Effects is and why you should be using it. The following videos cover areas such as the user interface, compositions, and layers. You’ll also discover different keyframe types, some animation basics, and more.

Let’s dive in.


The first video in the series begins with a brilliant and accurate introduction to After Effects and why you should use it. Evan points out that “After Effects is many things to a lot of people.” What could it be for you?

With a lot of tools in the arsenal, some see it as a compositor and visual effects suite while others see it as a motion graphics tool. It depends on what angle you come from and why you want to use it, but it covers all of the areas where you can make awesome videos.

The After Effects interface

This video focuses on the user interface. It can seem daunting at first because there are many panels with many options, but it is broken down into the four main ones that you will be using on a regular basis.

These are the work area bar, the project window, the composition window, the timeline and the toolbar. In the work area bar you can switch between predefined “work areas” such as text, animation and motion tracking. These “work areas” only show the most relevant tools for this job. However, you can choose which panels to display individually. Everything in your current project is in the project window. This includes all video, image and audio files. In addition, you can create folders to organize everything, view data like the frame rate, and write comments if necessary.

You can view your assets in the composition window. You can move videos and pictures, and create additional elements such as text layers, lights, and solids. This works in tandem with the timeline because what you change in the composition is reflected in the timeline.

The toolbar contains a variety of tools that are used in conjunction with the Composition window and the Timeline. You can select specific layers and graphics, draw masks or shape layers.

Understand compositions

Understanding compositions is a big deal. Compositions are the basis for creating your videos in After Effects. Evan goes into great detail through creating a composition, setting it up, and including your imported files.

Once you understand this, you will understand the essence of After Effects.

Get to know levels

If compositions are the foundation, layers are the building blocks. You can think of all levels as containers that hold values ​​and properties. Layers come in different shapes and sizes and serve different purposes. For example, you have text layers, video layers, and solid layers. You also have adjustment, light, camera, and shape layers.

Browse through to find out more.

Working with keyframes

This video is about how to animate layers on the timeline. This is where you really get things moving. (Sorry for the bad pun!)

Layers have transform properties that you animate. All layers (except the audio layer) have an anchor point, a position, a scale, a rotation and an opacity. You will animate the properties of a layer and learn the difference between a linear keyframe and a simple keyframe. A keyframe essentially holds a certain value at a certain point in time.

Use the project window

In the sixth video, Sergei takes the helm and shows what animated graphics you will create in the next five videos. The video begins with the various ways you can import files into the project window. There are a variety of options, and Sergei shows what he prefers. He also talks about the importance of organizing your project and how you can do this with folders. Once that’s done, create a composition, bring in the imported files, and then add text.

Understand precomps

Sergei goes into great detail on examples of how and why precomps are great, and why you should use them. You can think of precomps as another way of grouping layers in the timeline. This alone helps keep your timeline nice and neat and clear.

Basic keyframe types

We’ll start by learning the five different types of keyframes we’ll use in After Effects. We have linear, simple ease, easy ease in getting in and out. You can see how all the keyframes work and when you want to use them.

Sergei then goes over the three types of loosening and how to do them. Then he talks about the hold keyframe and how it is more of a basic keyframe. It discusses working with multiple keyframes and mentions how to reverse your keyframes which is very convenient.

Keyframe relaxation

In this video we take a closer look at keyframes, and especially keyframe easing. You will learn how to use the Keyframe Velocity Menu and the Speed ​​Graph Editor to refine your animations. Loosening up is just playing with the speed of our animations.

Text animation basics

In the 10th and final tutorial of this epic “Learn from the Pros” series, you will learn how to animate static text. Animating text is an integral part of motion graphics and visual effects. We’ll take another look at what properties you can animate and how you can animate them using the range selector.


After you have a basic understanding of After Effects, you can take your skills even further.

Would you like to learn something specific about After Effects? Let us know in the comments!

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